Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Long and Winding Road to Self Publishing

The journey begins roughly a year and a half ago with a simple scene that repeated in my mind like a skipping record. A teenager using supernatural powers to slowly draining the life of another while his best friend watches in horror, begging for him to stop. From that one scene, my novel Morium became to be, but, it had to have more substance than just two teenagers with supernatural powers running rampant.
I knew I had to have strong characters, without strong characters the story I wanted to tell would fall flat. Drawing from my own experiences back, and I won’t say just how far back, when I was in high school I wanted to tackle a tough subject to write about; bullying. Being heavily bullied during my school years I had a foundation to draw on to bring the emotions that my two main characters, Lexi, and Nathan, were feeling and the psychological effect that bullying had on them. Not only did they have to deal with the torture they went through at school but also home problems. Nathans parents put work before their only child, while Lexi lost her mother and her dad struggles financially.

With a small spiral notepad next to me at all times I would jot down ideas as they filled my head. If I was out doing my daily business and an idea hit me like a brick, I would use my phone to type them out. When I first sat in front of my laptop that notepad was filled in an unorganized mess of words (With the second book, I have cleaned up my process by using simple index cards to organize each chapter to get a good flow to the story).
Yep, the entire notepad is filled with scribble like that.

  Originally written out as a graphic novel script, there was more that needed to be told as far as the emotions that Lexi and Nathan went through that could not be expressed in a graphic novel, though I hope that one day I will be able to pull it together in graphic novel form. In a way, using that script as a stepping stone allowed me to examine the traits of the characters, especially Stacy, whose persona took a different direction than originally planned.

   I wrote, then wrote more, and wrote even more until I hit what I call the 20,000 word wall. This is a wall that I had never been able to climb over with any story I had started to write. That wall blocked my vision and clouded my mind with thoughts if the story was worth even continuing. I didn’t know what was on the other side; a calm, bright sunny day beckoning me to finish or a mixture of ridicule, negative thoughts and panning from reviewer’s swirling around in a tornado. I climbed each letter on that wall until I was able to see the other side of my doubts. There they were; Lexi and Nathan waving for me to join them, for they felt it important enough for their story to be completed. I ran, not jogged, towards them after I jumped off that wall and greeted them with a smile. Together we walked off onto the screen of my laptop and for the first time I climbed over that dreaded wall and pressed on.

   After weeks of editing, re-writes I had reached that point of hitting the publish button on Amazon. I can’t remember how long I sat there staring at the publish button deciding if this was the right thing to do. I don’t know if you could call it butterflies, or even a knot in the stomach, but there was self doubt. I had gone through the entire book so many times that it didn’t even makes sense to me anymore. My beta reader’s enjoyed it but was that enough? Oh, there were some bad thoughts; what if my precious baby that you have nurtured and cared for gets bashed with every review? Worse yet, it gets called the worst book on Amazon. It was at that point I shut off the computer and walked away. I pondered for a few days and came back to that publish button but this time I did not hesitate and pressed publish; I still don’t know what came over me to do it.

   I sent out reviewer copies to anybody who would read them and waited. Waited for negative to flood in for that’s all I could think about. I knew that there is no such thing as a perfect book, or will there ever be. After a few days I received the first email from a blog that did a review. This is when the butterflies fluttered wildly in my stomach. There was sigh of relief as for the review was positive, highlighting that the characters were very relatable. With each review I received each one commented on the strengths of the characters, while the latter reviewers also added how they liked the flow. Well, I thought, I did something’s right. I know that not everyone will like my books, there will be flaws that people will point out, but that is the only way that I will become a better writer. That is the way anyone will become a better writer.

   If I were to give advice to anyone who is considering writing a book I would say to them don’t let anything stand in your way. Don’t let self doubt get in your way. There will be bumps, and yes, even some detours on the way but navigate through them and you will reach your destination of being a self-published author.

More organized approach

1 comment:

  1. It's intriguing to know how a story took shape in an author's mind. I'm glad you pushed that publish button. I enjoyed your book.